According to Vidiator, an innovative solution provider of streaming technology, there is a huge appetite for mobile video content in SEA. That doesn‘t come as a surprise, since the market actually hasn‘t reached its full potential, yet.
The expert urges that significant changes need to be made by network operators and content providers and states that there are many opportunities and challenges to take into consideration. Mobile video is, for instance, expected to be one of the biggest growth markets globally within mobile content, with video traffic now accounting for over 50% of total data and expected to increase 25-fold between 2011 and 2016.
Further, in South East Asia, the penetration of traditional TV services is lower than the global average, according to a report from Bain and Company. While a report by Nielsen in 2011 found high ownership levels of internet ready phones in the region. In fact in some countries more people own internet enabled phones than any other device such as a desktop or notebooks, also in part due to the rapid rollout of 3G and 4G services.
Vidiator sees little evidence that the full opportunity of online video is being capitalized upon. The market demand is there, potential subscribers own the devices already and are willing to pay for it, but companies are not providing the right services so far.
In Western markets, mobile video services are becoming ubiquitous, with most operators and broadcasters offering a service alongside additional competitors that offer streamed films and sports.
South East Asia by comparison has just a handful of noteworthy services, ranging from basic online streaming to fully-fledged services with dedicated apps for smartphones and tablets.
One major challenge is infrastructure and the investment required in a mobile or wired network to support large scale video streaming. In the west, people are used to pages loading almost instantly but compare this to Indonesia, which has an average page loading speed of 20.8 seconds. This is more than six times slower than South Korea, where a website takes 3.4 seconds to load and China where a website takes 6.8 seconds.
While these infrastructure issues can be overcome by managing streaming bit rates and using a hosted service to offset the upfront cost, many content providers and network operators are unsure as to the level of investment required to ensure ROI. The spend required to set up a mobile video service, from hosting the content centrally to the support and back office functions, needs to be authorized by business decision makers, who need to understand that there is a clear path to ROI.
The flip side to this is that mobile networks in many of the countries across Asia are more advanced than some of those in the Western world. As a result, the investment required, or the ability of the network to support video, is much lower than many think. By working with specialist companies many of these barriers can be overcome, the lack of information clarified, and an ROI identified.
Another issue, and one that Vidiator has seen in almost every global market, is the gap between mobile operators struggling to monetize content and content providers who have a solution, but don’t have the ability to deliver content to subscribers.
One major aspect of this is in dealing with content rights, a complex area that operators have little experience in. This is where services can stall or even fail, with operators not willing to get involved in content rights and the content owners not understanding the challenges faced with mobile devices. Key to overcoming these challenges is working alongside a complete solutions provider like Vidiator, who understands the nuances of each market and can act as an independent third party.
A growing body of research, including Vidiator’s own, shows that consumer appetite for mobile video content can vary according to country, age and gender. So while there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for a mobile video service, those network operators who provide a range of services tailored to the needs of different customer segments are most likely to succeed.
Vidiator’s research found that there is a gap in regions, genders and ages between those who want on-demand content versus those who want live streaming and the channels each group views the most. For example,Indian mobile users prefer films, music and news content, whereas in Malaysia 70% of those surveyed said they’ve watched films on a mobile device.
However, for any service to succeed, there are four key areas that must be addressed:
1. Managing the quality;
2. Striking the balance between live versus on-demand streaming;
3. Apps & devices;
There is a clear and sizeable market for providing mobile video content in South East Asia and to-date a handful of operators and service providers have spotted the opportunity. However, there are few existing services that tick all the boxes and offer consumers everything they need to open their wallets and pay for content.
Service providers, who can offer consumers a consistent service with the right mix of VOD and live content on the right devices and at the right price, can open up a market expected to be worth $22.5 billion by 2016.
By Anjum Siddiqi